Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Came!!! and now it's gone again...

One of the things that is super nice about living in Oregon is that it rarely snows during the winter.  At least in the Portland area.  A friend commented to me recently, "There are so many more homeless people here than in Arizona!"  Well, that's because we have a fairly temperate climate...  However, one of the not so great things is that our "spring" lasts a lot longer than in a lot of places, and it consists of temperatures around 55 degrees and rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Even more rain than we had in the winter.  Yesterday afternoon, we got almost 3/4 of an inch in one hour.  (Did I mention this was also the hour that Ethan had baseball practice? Yeah, guess who didn't go)

This past weekend was beautiful... hovering between 65 and 70 degrees and sunny.  Not kind of sunny, but sit on the deck with a book and get burnt kind of sunny!  As I sit typing right now, it is 56, overcast, and windy.  Apparently, we have a cold front moving in that is going to keep our highs around 58 for the week with rain and wind.  These are the days that I miss Texas... or even Maine for that matter!  A friend of mine has been sleeping with her windows open for two months now!!!!!

Sunshine and warm temps... please come soon! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Behaviour Modification

Yeah, yeah, I spelled it the European English way, so sue me... after looking at website after website with it spelled "behavior" it just looks like it's spelled wrong.

Perhaps the topic isn't so much behaviour modification as it is "Getting your kids to just freakin' listen to you when you talk".  This morning, we had a meltdown over shoes.  Yes, shoes.  By a nine year old.  Seriously.  Sometimes I wonder who is the younger of my two children. 

One of the things that I have read has to do with behaviour regression before a growth spurt... well, if that is the case, then Ethan should have been growing for the last year and should be taller than me by this point.  He's not.  I understand the notion of testing boundaries and seeing what it is that you can get away with before mom snaps and either grounds you, takes something away, or as the case was when we were kids, spanks you.  (I still believe that there is a time and a place for corporal punishment, and I think all of the 'lovey parenting' is part of what is wrong with teenagers, now, don't misinterpret that as me saying, "please, by all means, go beat your children" - sooooo not what I am saying)  I think that a lot of the things that we were punished for as children now go by the wayside.  There are certain things in our current culture that have become acceptable that really shouldn't be.

That having been said, how on earth do we make mornings easier?  How do we not argue over the shoe selection? (the issue was he wanted to wear his "skate shoes" that looked absolutely ridiculous with his shorts, instead of the brand new Asics running shoes that are a white base with a metallic blue and black logo - as far as running shoes go, they are pretty sweet) How do we get them out of bed on time and without the fights about brushing teeth, washing faces, combing hair...

I did some online searching and found some behaviour contracts that will be signed tonight, as well as some chore charts, and scheduling charts.  Hopefully a visual reminder will serve as, well, something.  I can only read so many parenting books and make so many suggestions before I seriously say, forget it, I'm done.  I'm so tired of the fighting and the arguing and the general unhappiness around here.  I try and try to combat it and stay positive, but it's really difficult.  I know that the economy is weighing on everyone's minds, including all of our kids, especially when we say things like, "nope, we can't get that, no money right now" or "it's going to have to wait until payday"...

I know that we have things better right now than our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through World Wars and the great Depression, but to our kids, it is one and the same... so, now, how do we raise kids like they did... with a sense of purpose, drive, and determination instead of a sense of entitlement, laziness, and the willingness to let others take care of things?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Favorite Product for Today...

I haven't done a "Favorite Product of the Day" in a while, and I thought I would go ahead and jump on that... there are many things that I really can't live without (and quite a few that, honestly, I could never see again and really wouldn't care).  One of the most important things in my daily/weekly regimen is ... Tide. I don't remember a time that we didn't use it at my house growing up, and even though it is a little more expensive than some of the other brands of detergent, I have found that it is TOTALLY worth it.  I have saved more clothes from the "turn into dustrags" pile using Tide than I could possibly imagine.  Not to mention, when I take the kids' clothes to the consignment shop, I always get "Wow, these are in GREAT shape!"... therefore increasing my consignment value!

The other thing that I totally love about them is their "Loads of Hope" program.  This is a fantastic idea and whomever came up with it, well, they deserve a raise.  This program has trucks of washers and dryers that head into disaster regions (right now they are in Tennessee) and sets up for days at a time for people to do laundry.  That's it, and it's really that simple.  If you are involved with a natural disaster, and manage to escape from your house with three sets of clothing, wouldn't it be nice to know that those clothes are at least clean?  They only have so many of these trucks, so they also team up with laundromats in the area as well to offer the same services.  How cool!?!?!   Not to mention, you can buy one of these groovy retro t-shirt to help support the program here.  They've been to Galveston, TX, North Dakota, Louisiana, San Diego... read more about the program and individual stories here, at Tide Loads of Hope.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Day of Gratitude

Since this is the first I'm hearing about this fantastic idea, I am going to have to send something along with Ethan tomorrow!  Obviously, since I'm a crafty type, I'm going to have to whip up something fairly quickly... Hmmm.  For a teacher... a book cover/tote, perhaps?  This is an idea that I've been playing around with, but haven't necessarily gotten to yet.  Yep.  I think that is what I will do.

Over the past few years that we have been at Clackamas Elementary, all of the teachers and staff have been great.  We understand that they are super busy, and yet they still take the time to answer the calls, emails, and notes that they receive on a daily basis.  Not only do they do they deal with our rugrats every day, but then they go home and have to deal with their own!!  Every grade and age presents it's own challenges, and I'm sure the individuals who teach Kindergarten say, "I don't know how those teachers deal with the high schoolers!" but then, I'm sure that the High School teachers say the same thing about the Elementary level teachers too!  Hurray for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Of course, that being said, at the same time, there are also the lunch ladies, maintenence/janitorial staff, school nurses, and perhaps most importantly - the office staff, because really, without them the schools simply wouldn't function (That means YOU, BARB CHILTON)!

I have a few teachers that I look back on fondly, and for different reasons.  There were the ones that were so incredibly sweet and kind that you couldn't wait to go to school... there were the crazy creative ones (that were let go from the Catholic school you attended for being TOO creative - shame, really, Ms. Russo was fantastic)... there were the ones that pushed and pushed and pushed you to the point where you thought you were going to strangle them and then suddenly, it clicked that they were just pushing you because they knew you had too much potential to waste...  There are also a few teachers that my oldest son, who is now in third grade, has had that have just been phenomenal, everyone at the Early Learning Center for preschool, as well as Jenni Hutteball that he had last year for second grade.

The other side of this, and perhaps these teachers are slightly less recognized, because a lot of people don't think of them as being teachers... I'm talking about the various sports coaches that were in our lives as kids, and are now in our children's lives.  Over the years, parents have become okay with yelling at umpires, refs, opposing coaches.  Perhaps instead of doing this, we need to support the coaches that the kids have, and just sit back with our hot dogs and enjoy the game...

I know that I am grateful for the teachers that I have had, and hope that my kids can look back years from now and say the same... Check out PBS Kids Supersisters and see what others are doing to participate in the Great Day of Gratitude!

The Great Day of Gratitude is May 5, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baseball Has Begun!

After a month of practices getting rained out, today was our Opening Day! Our first, and only at this point, Saturday game. The morning started out crazy, as they still had practice in the morning before their exhibition game against another Clackamas Junior Baseball team.

Pictures, then the "Opening Ceremonies"... a bunch of grown ups chattering, but then two of the Clackamas High guys said a few words, which I thought was cute. It's really nice that the High School guys have really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended - really) to help these kiddos out. They are doing some of the umpiring, they helped coach the kids at their hitting and fielding camps earlier in April - so, should any of you read this - THANKS!

Ethan's first at bat, well, let's just say he went down swinging. He has a good swing, but needs to work on his timing a little because of his vision issues. He has been trying and had a few good hits at practice this morning, so I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow, when they have a scrimmage against one of the other (higher level) teams. His second at bat, he made it to first on a walk, but that's okay - the kid that was pitching was kind of all over the place.

So far, so good, the boys won this exhibition game 10-7, and seemed to "pull it together" in time for the game. I think it makes a huge difference once you have a uniform on and are playing on a "real field". This particular complex is brand new, and it is beautiful! Turf fields, a food stand - that has real food - not just munchies, and a big hit among the parents: REAL BATHROOMS!